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BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange's 2018 Teen Arts Conference

BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange's 2018 Teen Arts Conference


BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange


Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 8:00am
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 10:00am



BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange

For over 20 years Brooklyn Arts Exchange's annual Teen Arts Conference (TAC) has provided teen performing artists (ages 13-18) across New York City with the opportunity to come together as part of a wider cultural community of learners and practitioners. This free, daylong conference, for invited participants, offers a range of theater, dance, and performance workshops as well as panel discussions facilitated by leading professionals in the field. The conference culminates with a Performance Gala in the BAX Theater, where the teen groups perform their work for each other and a public audience.

Each year the conference engages in current and thought provoking issues affecting both our political and performance worlds. It both implicitly and explicitly considers the intersection of arts and activism and the radical act we embody by working as creative collectives. This year, this intersection feels as urgent as ever and our conference will be informed by a very specific inquiry into dominant and counter narratives and the power of storytelling. What stories are allowed by our society? Who gets to tell them? And what stories do we choose to tell as generative artists?


Conference Kick off Event at Irondale
Wednesday, April 18

Prior to the Conference there will be an event with longtime TAC participant, Irondale. Irondale Ensemble members will share work from their ongoing "To Protect, Serve, and Understand" project, which engages New York City police officers and local communities in improvisational theater to build empathy and understanding. Set in Irondale's historic theater, Irondale Ensemble artists will lead select TAC participants, representing each participating group, through a process of "stepping into one another's shoes" and generating spontaneous public performance that explores what can happen when difference is bridged by empathy.

Teen Arts Conference
Saturday, April 21


Morning Workshops
Following morning orientation, the conference kicks off with three different back-to-back, high-energy technique workshops in dance, theater, and performance led by expert performers and arts educators.

10:00 - 11:00am
The Body as a Vehicle of Expression - Donna Costello

Our bodies are our instruments as artists and there is so much to tap into as we look to express ourselves in our art. This workshop will focus on all that this rich instrument  can do with movement, sound, space and in relationship to others.
We will warm up using movement of the body, the voice and the space in a holistic approach while sharing ideas we are currently working on in our art forms. We will end the workshop by creating small studies using the framework of these areas of focus and encouraging full expression with our bodies and taking space!

10:00 - 11:00am
ThIS Body Tumbles - Diane Tomasi

An upbeat, judgment-free and social workshop for all people of all genders, sexualities, body types and experience that uses dance, tumbling and partner acrobatics to build strength, flexibility and coordination. Exploring various levels of cartwheeling, handstanding/balancing, rolling and weight sharing one will gain communication skills and confidence in relying on one's own body as well as trusting that of a partner(s).

10:00 - 11:00am
Improvisation and composition: discovering the self through the body - Maira Duarte

In this workshop students will explore the body's relationship to space, surfaces, and surrounding matter. Following a warm up, we will transition to movement, respond to different stimuli, and utilize momentum. Participants will be given improvisational movement scores and partner work instructions to generate material by reconnecting the body to its inner impulses and physical surroundings.

11:05am - 12:05pm
Drag Performance - Kelindah Schuster

This workshop will touch briefly on the tradition of drag performance in Brooklyn and how it has exploded as a result of Ru Paul's Drag Race and queer pop culture in the mainstream. Through full group ensemble games and improv exercises participants will explore expressive movement, lip sync, comedic caricature and clowning. Individually, artists will experiment with writing prompts about what gender performance means to them personally and the role gender plays in their daily lives. This workshop will culminate with an informal and optional share of in-process work and reflections.

11:05am - 12:05pm
Theater Dance - Kevin Carillo

Participants will engage in a high-energy theater dance intensive. The class will dissect the role a choreographer has in telling a story through the musical theater medium. Students will assume the artistic responsibilities of a physical storyteller in collaboration with all participants.

11:05am - 12:05pm
What do you See, What do you Say? Physical Theater and Improv - Billy Schultz 

This workshop will explore two different approaches to scene creation. First, we will work with body language (physical theater) and investigate what we are saying without making a sound. We'll look at dynamics of a group on stage. Secondly, we'll work with improvisation to create dialogue inspired by what we were seeing in the physical work. Participants will leave with two different approaches to developing theater work while tapping into the confidence-building, respectful and dynamic power of team work.

12:10 - 1:10pm
Swing Dance - Helen Tocci

Meet other dancers, show off your rhythm, and have a swinging time as you explore the footwork, turns, and partner connection of this vintage dance.

12:10 - 1:10pm
Hip Hop - Skye Montante 

In this choreography-based hip hop class we will use bare feet, top rocks, classic hip hop grooves, individuality, and lots of laughter and creativity to learn, breakdown, and rework an original hip hop dance phrase.

12:10 - 1:10pm
Umfundalai - Angie Pittman

As a Pan-African dance technique, the Umfundalai technique draws upon key movements from different ethnic groups and many nations in Africa along with movements of Black cultures in the United States, Caribbean, and South America. The literal word, Umfundalai, means "essence" or "essential" in Kiswahili. In this workshop, conference participants will work on rhythm, body alignment, and core movement as well as vocabulary of the Umfundalai technique to generate collective and self-expression.

Afternoon Panels:
The morning workshops (and lunch) are followed by three different moderated panel discussions taking place simultaneously during which professional and pre-professional artists share original work and discuss their creative process. This is a professional development experience to see, hear, and ask questions about the process of generating work.

2:00 - 3:00pm
Irondale Panel: To Protect, Serve and Understand - a look at an improvisation workshop bringing Police Officers and Community members together

Join Terry Greiss, Irondale's Executive Director, and past participants of To Protect, Serve and Understand to learn about how to use improvisation to improve communication and empathy. After a short film about the project, civilians and NYPD officers will share the monologues they created for performance. The panel will then invite the audience to participate in a discussion about how actor training tools can be used to affect and enhance the lives of people outside of the arts world, and how they intersect with the goals of people in myriad jobs.
Those who are not able to join us at the Conference Kick Off Event at Irondale, April 18th, will have priority attendance for this panel.

2:00 - 3:00pm
Show/Talk with BAX Artist in Residence Tanisha Christie 

During this panel, view a short performance conceived and written by BAX Artist in Residence, Tanisha Christie (2016-18), Iona Flies Away: A listening party. A concert/storytelling/theaterish work in progress.
A story of a girl from a family who becomes a woman because that's what happens. Music by and featuring Kelly Erin Sloan. Music Direction Chris Vega. With Sauda Jackson, Kyana Brindle and others. A few songs and chapters will be shared and guided talk back will follow the presentation of work. Bring questions!

2:00 - 3:00pm
Are You Ready to Run?: Performance and Discussion with BAX Space Grantees Nia & Ness

Black, lesbian, dancer-poet performance art duo Nia & Ness invite you to view excerpts of their evening-length piece, run.
Created in part during their BAX 2017 Summer Space Grant, run. is a story of the couple's daily struggles and joys while living in NYC, with all original music by Garrett Miller. Following their performance, Nia & Ness will share their ideas about how their love and art are intrinsically intertwined with their activism.

Following the afternoon panels and a dress rehearsal for the evening public performance, BAX's Education Dept. will facilitate a reflection and exchange among the participants, offering the opportunity to respond to and ask questions about each other's works and creative processes. There will be a discussion making connections to the conference's theme about counter/dominant narratives and the Irondale kick off event. Thereafter participants share a community meal together to network and exchange information with peers from various training schools, public and private high schools, and recreation and community groups.

Performance Gala:
7:30pm | $5 tickets at the door
The conference will culminate with an evening Performance Gala showcasing the participating teen groups' original works. This is open to to public.

2018 Conference Participants:

  • BAX Dance Performance Workshop Level III (DPW III)
  • Irondale Young Company
  • MCC Youth Theater
  • Cora Youth Company
  • 407 Moves


Pictured: Hip hop class with Laurie Taylor @BAXarts for the Teen Arts Conference.

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